Planning Poker for Scrum teams
Most Agile teams around the world use planning poker technique to estimate their product backlogs. It is a consensus based estimating technique to determine the effort, time or complexity of the development stories.
In this blog we will discuss the must have features for an online planning poker tool that can fit a typical scrum team needs.
1. Integrations with project management tools like Jira
Import issues from Jira
Most of the agile teams are already using tools like Jira, Trello, Azure, TFS to track and manage their team’s projects. It would be easier if the online planning poker tool pulls your stories from your already defined Sprints, for example say Jira issues from the backlog and keep it open for estimation.
Sync results back to Jira
Once the estimates are discussed with the team and finalized, the results can be synced back to the Jira issues. No more manual stuff, it makes everything convenient and automatic if supported by the planning poker tool.
2. Automatic scheduling
Ideally a planning poker tool can be designed to cut down manual process in planning and arranging meeting logistics by supporting automatic scheduling.
3. Time-zone aware
If your team is distributed, time-zones are important aspects to be covered. Asynchronous voting could be preferable allowing the participants to vote in advance at their comfortable time of the day. The facilitator can later collect the votes, have a discussion if required and get it updated to the development stories.
During an online estimation session, each team members use their individual logins to file their estimations and the facilitator is the only one who sees all the estimates of the team members and calls for a discussion if needed and can see the aggregated estimate before syncing back to the stories, ensuring no falsy estimation on the stories.
5. Works well on Slack
The online planning poker tool can be designed to work pretty well on the free version of Slack, ensuring convenience for the team members to participate from anywhere and on any device.
Have a record of how the story was estimated. Know how your team members have contributed over time and were engaged during the estimation sessions. See all the past data, including quik stats, session status, and recent stories and more.
7. Supports multiple platforms
The online planning poker tool can be designed to work pretty well on multiple platforms including desktop, iOS, and Android platforms, making it convenient for the team to participate from anywhere and on any device.
8. Supports multiple teams
It does not justify the efforts and time you put in for a tool if it does neither support large nor multiple teams. The next estimation session can include a few more additional members. Ideally the tool should be designed to expand for larger agile teams as well as additional teams.
9. Supports discussion for story point estimate
During an estimation session, there can optionally raise a need for team discussions before finalizing the value. No more taking the discussion to the email or other messengers, it could be convenient for the team if the discussion can be supported within the planning poker tool.
10. Export report
Have a report of user stories and estimations that you can export, save and share it with Stakeholders anytime and anywhere.
Online Planning Poker solution by Troopr
Troopr offers online planning poker solutions for distributed agile teams with Jira and Slack integration. It runs directly on the browser connecting multiple participants in a real-time story points estimation session.
The team members can participate in the estimation session by asynchronously filing their votes from Slack. Troopr integrates with Jira seamlessly to pull in the stories already defined in Sprints for estimation and automatically updates the issue story points when the voting is completed and agreed with the team.
Troopr offers industry standard story point themes to keep the team engaging and productive. The facilitator can set up Troopr to pull in the Jira user stories to send it to the participants. The participants can individually file their votes from Slack. The aggregated report of the participant response is sent to the facilitator and can also be shared in the team’s Slack channel. The facilitator can then initiate a discussion with the team members in Slack if needed or the story points can be automatically synced back and updated to the Jira user stories at a click of a button. No more manual stuff and hence minimizing false estimations and errors from manual processes.
Also Troopr keeps a record of past data, meeting status and allows you to review recent stories and how they were estimated. This report is available on web portal as well and can be shared to Stakeholders in Slack.
How is online planning poker beneficial?
A typical planning poker session is manual and requires one person to coordinate the meeting logistics and take notes during the meeting. Again he has to follow up with the participants on further discussions and action items. This can both be a tedious and error prone process. Also it is not the best use of everybody’s time when there are more than a few participants. And if the team is remote and distributed across different time zones, getting everyone together in a virtual meeting room is also difficult. This is where Asynchronous online planning poker tools come handy and can be used effectively with the teams.
How to set up Planning Poker sessions in Troopr
Once you have installed Troopr, you can automate a number of workflows including conducting online planning poker sessions directly in Slack. It is a simple 3 step process
Configure scheduling options
Select Jira issues and configure story point options
Configure reporting options
Troopr is not only for online planning poker
Troopr goes beyond automating planning power sessions and allows your team to automate most common Scrum ceremonies in Slack including daily standups, retrospectives and more. Troopr Slack bot also comes with customizable scheduling, reporting options, web reports, history reports, analytics and Jira integrations for all the Scrum ceremonies.
As long the estimation sessions actually get done and are productive, the how is upto you. If you are going to try out an online planning poker tool, Troopr ticks on all the boxes for the must have features that a team needs and is easy to use.
Troopr is designed to fit teams of any size and is already trusted by 1000s of agile teams worldwide including at Delivery Hero, Electronic Arts, Accenture and more.